Thursday, March 19, 2015

Making Waves

Did I ever tell you the story about the waterbed? Actually, it's more of a story about me, and the first time I tried to sleep on a waterbed.

It was the 4th of July after a concert and fireworks at Tanglewood and the decision was made to find a hotel and stay put rather than drive back to Connecticut. At check-in, much to my surprise, a choice was offered: regular bed or waterbed? Ooh! I was intrigued.

It was one of the worst choices I have ever made. I hadn't really taken into account that a waterbed moves. And I'm a light sleeper, so every time it moved I would wake up. So, without thinking, I used every muscle in my body to try to control the waterbed so it wouldn't move. It was exhausting. And, when I awoke in the morning, every muscle in my body hurt.

All in all, it was a perfectly dreadful experience--and yet it taught me something: I'm a control freak and I hate change. And, when you think you can take it all on yourself, you will end up exhausted and in pain. You just can't hold that waterbed down.

I learned that waterbeds are not for me. But learning how to deal with change and my inability to control it has proven a much more difficult challenge. Yesterday as I read Tom Coale's "6th Blogoversary" on HoCoRising I felt that familiar pang of anxiety. He writes:

As I start out into my seventh year, I can say there are significant life changes that have already happened, and those still to happen, that will affect what you see here. And frankly, I think I'm almost done.

We all have our little universes that we like to keep in order. Mine is nourished by the work of community activists and the words of local bloggers. My first response: don't mess with my universe! My second response: wow, I am still not very good with change.

I've carried around the story of the waterbed for a very long time. It reminds me to recognize those things in myself and not take myself so seriously. But I realize now that the story is unfinished. The lesson I seem to have learned is: avoid waterbeds. The lesson I need to learn is how to let the waterbed be the waterbed, and to let me be me. Not avoidance, but acceptance.

Change is happening all the time. So my story is unfinished. Oh, yeah. My story is unfinished. That should be a reason to celebrate.

My birthday is coming up on Monday. Here's to a year of loving adventure more and caring about change less. I'm going to be on the lookout for people who can help me along on that journey.

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